Senses of time and maturity structuring participation in advanced mathematics

Smith, Cathy (2020). Senses of time and maturity structuring participation in advanced mathematics. In: Proceedings of the Seventh ERME Topic Conference on Language in the Mathematics Classroom (Ingram, Jenni; Erath, Kirstin; Rønning, Frode and Schüler-Meyer, Alexander eds.) pp. 171–178.



This paper examines how young people account for choosing advanced mathematical pathways, specifically how their language practices around time and maturity, inscribed in classroom and educational discourse, sustain, or not, their continued participation. It draws on a 2-year qualitative study of 24 young peoples’ accounts of following advanced mathematical pathways within a widening participation programme. Working from a post-structural perspective, I identify distinct discourses –moving/improving and getting ahead - that structure the intelligibility of participation in the two pathways. I argue that tracing the alignments and tensions between these discourse offers potential to understand emergent practices in mathematics participation in terms of ongoing inclusions and exclusions that render individual student choices secure or fragile.

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